Posted by: twistsoffeet | April 24, 2010

Raw Carriboo and Balut

When traveling, I have a very firm policy.

If someone offers me something to eat then, I must eat it.

You see, I can be called an adventurous eater. Besides it is just plain courtesy.

I have eaten snakes and black bear in the States.  Roasted cockroaches in Thailand.  Fried spiders Cambodia.  Rice wine with snakes in the bottle in Vietnam.  I never ate dog, not because I am opposed  to it, but because it was never offered to me.

One thing many of the exotic foods I have sampled have in common is that they are labeled as aphrodisiacs. Let me say right off that I do not really believe most of these so-called claims, as they never had that effect on me.  However, in a somewhat psychosomatic and placebo sense, all of these things may be aphrodisiacs, if you believe it will work, then maybe it will work.

In the Philippines, two such foods are raw Carriboo, water buffalo, and Balut, fertilized duck or chicken eggs that have been incubated for twelve to twenty days.  I prefer about sixteen days because the embryo is formed but the feathers are not formed yet, so they won’t get caught in your teeth.

Only men eat the raw Carriboo. It can be obtained at somewhat rare specialty restaurants, where women serve, but are not allowed to eat this food. It comes in soups prepared with a vegetable broth sprinkled with hot peppers, an uncommon food in the Philippines. It also is found in salads, both noodle and vegetable.

A group of Philippino male friends decided to take me to a Carriboo restaurant to sample this delicacy. We had to drive for two hours into another province.  We eventually arrived at this restaurant, a very large open-sided tent with seating for about a hundred men, located in a field.  The food was prepared in an outdoor kitchen.

As I said, only men are allowed to eat this meal.  The wives and girlfriends of the men in my group were all a little giddy at the thought of where their men were going.  These women were already starting to get dressed up for their men to return when we left for the restaurant.  I personally had rice, raw Carriboo soup and a raw Carriboo salad with vegetables.

The soup was actually quite exceptional. It was sour with lime juice, and had a very nice vegetable broth with a pretty good heat from the hot peppers.  The meat was raw, but had been “cooked” in lime juice.  I was less impressed with the salad.  Also, the rice was a dry-farmed Philippine red rice that was quite tasty.  It had a very distinct nuttiness was firm to the tooth, and no sweetness.

Then there is Balut.  Now, most westerners I know find this delicacy disgusting. I actually grew to very much enjoy Balut.  This particular delicacy begins with a duck or chicken egg that has been fertilized twelve to twenty days, then the egg is either cooked on a charcoal grill or hard-boiled. Personally, my preference is grilled.  When eating it one must first crack the shell and suck out the liquid before peeling off the shell.  You then sprinkle it with vinegar and salt– or even add a little fermented shrimp paste before eating.

One of my former girlfriends insisted that I consume two Balut a day.  She said the red (?) part– it actually was more yellow– contained many vitamins.  She also said it would give me power. She ate two a day with me.

I can’t say either one of these exotic little tidbits actually acted as an aphrodisiac on me.  However, being in the habit of eating both of them seemed to keep my girlfriend happy.

This may be totally due to some sort of placebo effect, but who am I to argue?



  1. All I can think of is the time you had me eat a raw beef salad… And then I had to almost save your life when you choked on it. *scared*

    Also, I’m not so sure about this Balut business. I know I could locate some of this as Pacific Ocean Market. But still *scared*.

    • Ok so I didn’t slice the beef as thin or cut it as short as I should have. But other than that it wasn’t too bad was it? That recipe was Laotian Pleah Sach Ko and to the best of my knowledge it was not an aphrodisiac. In both recipes the meat is “cooked” in lime juice but the similarity ends there.

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